Image Credit: Tata Open Maharashtra

The Indian duo of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sriram Balaji defeated the USA’s 2nd seeds Jackson Withrow and Nathaniel Lammons to reach the doubles semi-finals at the Tata Open Maharashtra. The top-seeded pair of USA Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury knocked out India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela in the doubles quarterfinal. Here are the notable events that took place this week at Tata Open Maharashtra:

Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sriram Balaji enter doubles semifinals

After entering the tournament as an alternative entry, N Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan surprised the Pune fans on Thursday by upsetting second seeds Jackson and Nathaniel in the doubles quarterfinal of the fifth iteration of the Maharashtra Open.

The Indian duo entered the event as an alternate entry, while Withrow, ranked 49th in the world, and Lammons, ranked 46th, were among the favorites to win the championship in Pune. The American pair entered the Tata Open in terrific shape after shocking top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in the first round of the US Open the previous year.

The pair were startled, however, when Balaji and Jeevan put on a stunning performance in both sets, which featured close competition before the tie- breakers. The American duo gave it their all to force a tiebreaker, but the Indians did enough to turn the tide at the end of the second set in their favor. With this triumph, Balaji and Jeevan finished the 2022 season with a streak of six consecutive Challenger tournament semi-final appearances.

India’s Ramkumar knocked out of the Maharashtra Open

At the fifth iteration of the Tata Open Maharashtra, India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela lost 2-6, 1-6 to the top-seeded team of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the doubles quarterfinals. Earlier, Ramkumar Ramanathan defeated Rohan Bopanna and Botic van de Zandschulp 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 11-9 on Tuesday at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune to get into the doubles quarterfinals with Miguel.

On the other hand, Ram, the third-ranked player in the world, and Salisbury, the fourth-ranked player, entered the Tata Open Maharashtra with a team ranking of seven. The American-British duo, who had each won three Grand Slam tournaments, had a very successful 2022 season. They repeated as US Open champions, won two ATP Masters 1000 titles, and finished the year by winning the ATP Finals in Turin.

Ramkumar wasn’t the only Indian to suffer such a heartbreaking defeat. The all-Indian team of Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni also suffered a painful defeat against third seeds Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul from France, losing 7-6 (1), 5-7, [7-10] despite being up a set early on.

Marin Cilic withdraws due to a knee injury

Top seed Marin Cilic was forced to withdraw from Tata Open Maharashtra due to a knee injury he sustained during the warm-up before his planned match on Thursday. The Croatian player had advanced to the tournament’s quarterfinals in Pune and was scheduled to face Tallon Griekspoor in the semifinal match. Griekspoor of the Netherlands advanced to the semifinals after receiving a walkover since Cilic was unable to attend the competition.

The 2014 US Open winner Cilic, who received a bye in the first round, made a commanding start against Roberto Carballes Baena in the subsequent match. Without exerting much effort, the former World No. 3 from Croatia won the opening set. The 29-year-old Spanish player, though, took a 5-2 lead before easily winning the second set to force a third set. In the deciding set, Cilic established an early 3-0 lead and did not let it go away before easily winning the set and the match to advance to the singles quarterfinals at the fifth iteration of the ATP event, the Maharashtra Open.